Discrimination against national leaders sad: Advani

New Delhi, July 6 (IANS) Upset over Congress ministers as well as the presiding officers of both houses missing a programme to pay tribute to Jana Sangh founder Shyama Prasad Mookerjee in parliament, BJP leader L.K. Advani Saturday said great national leaders should not be discriminated against on party lines.

Advani, along with Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and her Rajya Sabha counterpart Arun Jaitley, went to pay tributes to the Jana Sangh founder on his birth anniversary Saturday. However, ministers and Congress MPs, including Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, were absent.

Vice President Hamid Ansari, who is the chairman of the Rajya Sabha, was also missing.

As per tradition, floral tribute is paid at the portraits of national leaders in the central hall of parliament on occasions like birth or death anniversaries.

"The great men of the nation should not be discriminated on party lines.... In the Central Hall, when we gathered to pay floral tributes to Mookherjee, I did not see anybody from the Congress. I noticed that they had not come," Advani said later at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headquarters.

"I did not know that this could be the attitude of the Congress. If this was by mistake, then Congress should make amends. But if this was by design, then it is sad," he said.

He recalled that when the portrait of freedom fighter Veer Savarkar was put in parliament, the Congress leaders had openly announced their opposition to it and boycotted the programme even though the president attended.

Deputy Speaker Karia Munda, Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy, BJP leaders S.S. Ahluwalia and Rajendra Agarwal were among those present on the occasion.

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